One of the many reasons why paralegals in America are increasing in number is accessibility to quality education. The advent of paralegal online schools has given aspiring individuals a more convenient route to earn relevant degrees and secure employment in the legal industry quickly.
With so many institutions to choose from, however, it is also so easy to pick the wrong one. Enrolling to a bad paralegal school can be a waste of time, money, and energy. To compare different institutions properly, use the tips below.
1. Know What You Want to Study
Your choice of a degree program is an important consideration when evaluating a paralegal school. Not all institutions offer the same programs, so focus on what you want to study first to narrow down your options accordingly.
Paralegals these days have a place in all practice areas, inspiring the creation of specialized degrees and certifications.
If you want to start a career in a particular legal field, specializing in one area is worth your while. It requires more time to study, but having a relevant degree can make it easier for you to get the paralegal job you want.
If you like to get into the industry faster, enrolling to a program that provides a good foundation in legal research and law is wise. You can get an education in a few months and start sending your resumes to law firms.
2. Look for Accreditation
After winnowing down your school options based on your chosen paralegal course, find out which institutions are accredited.
Accreditation by the American Bar Association or any regional body matters for many reasons. First, it guarantees that the school meets the strict degree, faculty, administration, and student support standards.
Although many institutions produce competent paralegals even without accreditation, it may be taken against you upon job application. Some employers are allergic to graduates of non-accredited paralegal schools, considering the complex and sensitive nature of legal work.
Furthermore, enrolling to an accredited institution can make you eligible for federal financial aid. If you need assistance to pay for your tuition, avoid a non-accredited paralegal school.
3. Check Out Teaching Formats
Some schools teach programs online while others require students to attend actual classes. Each teaching format has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, so assess your personal situation to see which one can work best for you.
4. Research On-the-Job Training Opportunities
Internships are crucial for the professional growth of paralegals. In addition to gaining real-world experience, being an intern allows you to build your network early.
Do not assume that all paralegal programs include on-the-job training in the curriculum. Some courses may not require apprenticeships and traineeships, so do your homework.
5. Find Out About a School’s Career Services
The paralegal schools with the highest rate of graduates who are hired fast have effective career services. Pick an institution that will not only train you in paralegal work but also assist you toward employment.
Selecting a paralegal school is not an easy decision. Exercise your due diligence, as your choice of institution can set the tone for your career.